Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition Review
Launch week for the Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition on Xbox One was disastrous. Server issues trumped all the dialogue surrounding the game, including inability to load, waiting over an hour to get into a game, or having to log out to fix any number of in-game glitches. However, the benefit of holding off on a review until a week or two after launch is really understand what the game is all about.
Let me tell you, the server issues we felt through the first ten days are completely gone, and what we are left with is an excellent Elder Scrolls titles that feels like Skyrim, but plays like an MMO.
I dabbled in the PC version of the game while also playing on Xbox One so I could feel the difference between the two. Dedicated PC MMO players will probably not feel comfortable playing on console, but as a dedicated console gamer, the Xbox One edition of ESO:TE is tailored to the community it is trying impress. Slight changes from the PC to Xbox One version makes the game LOOK less like an MMO, and more like Skyrim. It is still an MMO, and includes most of what you would expect in one – most importantly, battling with friends or guilds throughout the world.
The camera has been modified to reflect the Elder Scrolls Five: Skryim, and the inventory and menu systems also reflect the single player experience. That is what console gamers want in an Elder Scrolls style game. Skyrim handled so well and looked great, and the individuals tasked with porting ESO from the PC took all of that into consideration.
Unlike Skryim, which eases you into the world and game play, the Elder Scrolls Online seems to operate on a perceived assumption that players understand what they are doing. Once unleashed in your predetermined area of the world – determined by what race and class you choose at the character customization screen – you are more or less open to explore at your own will. It is a little intimidating; as a first time MMO player, I wasn’t sure where to turn first. After a few hours of walking around, trying to understand the inventory system, and after figuring out that unlike Skyrim, not everything has financial value, I felt strong enough to venture out and attempt some quests.
Fortunately, the game does color code quests based on your characters level: green for if you should be able to handle the quest, yellow if it might pose a problem, and red if you will meet almost certain death. This is really helpful in determining which quests you should tackle and which quests you should wait to do.
The characters skills screen poses the next learning curve difficulty situation. There really is no direction on which skills you should or shouldn’t invest in, so lots of reading and forum searching is probably your best bet to determine which skills will serve you best, especially early on in your campaign.
Playing Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition alone is possible, although a few multiplayer dungeons will be out of reach, difficulty wise. The real fun is playing with friends, although not necessarily with a guild. I played almost exclusively with a friend, and even started up a separate character that I would use to explore the world on my own if he wasn’t available. There is a lot of fun to be had exploring Cyrodil as well, although this area does not open up until you reach level 10. In Cyrodil, you join others in your alliance – for myself the Daggerfall Alliance – and attack the strongholds of the other alliances; this includes the use of siege weapons, which can be purchased before heading off to fight.
There is so much to comment on with regards to this game, and I could easily write over 2000 words. What you need to know is that you will essentially be playing what feels like a single player Elder Scrolls experience, but having the luxury of doing so with friends. In fact, for those just looking for a new Elder Scrolls experience, as long as you have Xbox Live, there is no subscription fee to play this.
The audio is great, the video is great. Neither holds up to the PC version, but that is understandable. This is the best MMO game available on console, and leading up to this title I have dabbled in a few. Being backed by Bethesda and having the Elder Scrolls flavour definitely helps, but even without this title would stand on its own. With most of the launch issues out of the way, it is time to explore the vast, massive world of Tamriel, and to do so with a friend or two. You won’t be disappointed by the experience.